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All you need to know about collagen for skin and hair

  • 4 min read

We’ve likely all heard of collagen and may have some recollection that it’s good for our skin, but probably can’t actually remember why that’s the case or how it works. 

At UpCircle, transparency is key and we believe that you should know not only what’s in your products, but also the reasons why. The collagen hype is real, so is it all it’s made out to be? 

Introducing collagen

As the most abundant protein in mammals, collagen is absolutely essential for the body – comprising around 30% of the proteins in the whole body. Rather than being one single substance, collagen is actually a family of 28 known substances – but for ease, we’ll stick to calling it collagen.

Collagen comprises the main structural protein in the extracellular matrix (a structural support network made up of diverse proteins, sugars and other components) of the body's connective tissues – including skin, bones, cartilage, tendons and ligaments. 

Type I collagen is by far the most abundant of all of the collagen in the human body, accounting for over 90% bone organic mass and as the main component (around 80%) in human skin. This type of collagen can be found most commonly in skin, bones, tendons, ligaments and cornea. 

While the body does produce its own collagen, it gradually makes less collagen as we age. Additionally, collagen production also drops due to excess sun exposure and sun damage, smoking, excess alcohol, and a lack of sleep and exercise.

Discover the benefits that you can reap from collagen for both your hair and your skin. 

3 collagen benefits for skin

1. Helps to improve skin elasticity

Preserving skin elasticity is what helps to minimise loose or sagging skin and keep your skin looking and feeling both supple and firm. 

2. Maintains skin hydration 

Healthy skin is hydrated skin. Ensuring the skin has enough moisture helps to keep it strong and elastic, preventing sore and flaking skin. 

A study found highly significant positive changes in the levels of skin hydration after using a drinkable nutraceutical providing 2.5g of collagen peptides. 

3. Protects the skin’s natural barrier 

The skin's natural barrier is what helps to keep moisture locked into the skin and keep harmful bacteria and damage from environmental stressors out. 

3 collagen benefits for hair

1. Increases hair-building proteins

Amino acids are essential for keratin, which helps to build hair. Collagen consists of amino acids bound together, forming a triple helix.

2. Acts as an antioxidant

Collagen helps to protect the hair follicles from free radical damage by acting as an antioxidant. Free radicals are produced naturally in the body, but cause damage to healthy cells. 

Antioxidants bind to free radicals, giving them their electron and restoring the missing pairing, so that the free radical doesn’t steal an electron from elsewhere.

3. May help to reduce hair thinning

Collagen helps to improve the elasticity and strength of the skin, more specifically the dermis which contains the root of your hair. The healthier the dermis which contains the hair’s root, the healthier your hair should be. 

How to stimulate collagen production in skin and hair

While collagen is produced naturally in the body to form various connective tissues, the amount our bodies produce declines with age, and because of lifestyle choices.

As a result of this, many people are now looking to supplement their bodies with additional collagen sources. From gels and tablets to a collagen-rich diet, there are many ways to get the boost of collagen your skin craves – including with your skincare. 

The issue that some people face is that many ways of supplementing collagen are not vegan or vegetarian friendly. This is where using hard-working ethical and vegan skincare with targeted ingredients can help to stimulate collagen production in the skin. 

Retinol and vitamin A derivatives

Retinol is renowned for helping to maintain healthy skin and hair by penetrating into multiple layers of the skin, promoting cell turnover and stimulating collagen production. Alongside Retin-A and retinal, retinol is a vitamin A derivative.

As retinol is a natural form of the vitamin A, all forms of retinol are natural. However, some retinol products will then have non-natural components added to the formula. To combat this and ensure that you’re stimulating collagen naturally, there are several natural retinol alternatives which you can use, including: rosehip oil, rosemary extract and sea buckthorn oil. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C plays a big role in connective tissue healing and promoting the proper triple helix conformation of collagen. It has also been found to increase type I collagen synthesis, which is by far the most abundant type of collagen in the body. 


Topical niacinamide has been found to increase collagen production, while also preventing protein glycation – which results in crosslinking of collagen and elastin molecules, turning them stiff and rigid.

UpCircle collagen-stimulating products

Rich in antioxidant vitamin E, our Cleansing Face Balm with Oat Oil helps to fight the damage caused by free radicals. 

This multi award-winning cleansing balm is made with the finely-ground powder of discarded apricot stones, a natural by-product of the apricot oil industry. Vitamin E helps to improve collagen production, helping the skin to stay smooth and supple. 



Our best-selling Organic Face Serum with Coffee Oil contains both the natural retinoids rosehip oil and sea buckthorn oil, as well as vitamin C. As this serum is completely oil based, it works through occlusion, locking in the hydration provided by the moisturiser by forming a protective seal over the skin.



Enriched with niacinamide and pro-retinol to increase the natural production of collagen, our Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid & Niacinamide replenishes the skin's natural barrier. Pro-retinol works to reduce signs of ageing, while upcycled blueberry extract protects against blue light.



Not forgetting haircare, our fan-favourite Shampoo + Conditioner Haircare Duo is formulated with the natural retinol rosemary oil which helps to increase collagen production. Sulphate-free, this duo supercharges and nourishes the hair for a glossy shine, while reducing breakage and strengthening the hair.



Discover our best-selling skin, body and haircare products at UpCircle.